A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!


Spring Easy Wear Weekend Dressing For Real Women

I do love a bit of Pinteresting (is that even a word?). You know, sit down with a cup of coffee and search to your hearts content. You can throw in any old random search:

S/S17 streetwear or
How to wear ruffles or
Looking chic on holiday

And that's before we even start looking at interiors, recipe ideas, seasonal gardening and knitting (errrr 15,600 pins on a knitted animal themed coffee cup sleeve, I kid you not). When did we become a world of nosey parkers?

But the fashion-y ones can make us mere mortals (me) feel somewhat inadequate. Young stunning girls sitting outside trendy coffee shops wearing vertigo inducing heels, spray-on skinnies, sheer bo-ho blouses (that obviously took hours to iron) full make up and not a coat, hat or scarf to be seen. And the caption...

"15 Winter Looks Everyone Is Obsessed With Right Now"

So far from real life, I could weep. Well my real life, I don't know about yours! I want easy pieces that I can put on and forget about for the rest of the day. I don't want scruffy but I do want comfort. I want outfits that work on lots of different levels. I want to feel good, kinda smart and confident in the clothes I wear.

Never more so than at weekends with the family so I thought I'd put a few looks together that fulfil these needs because I am that real woman. With a family and a dog, I do Saturday morning school drop offs, late night party pick ups and food shopping. I run errands and vac the hallway 3 times a day because someone has left the front door open and all the leaves have blown in. I chuck laundry into the washing machine and watch for the rain to stop so that the dog can have his walk. I visit family and friends, drink wine and eat cheeky roasts at the local pub, cook, clean and everything else that a million + other women do too. That's my weekend.

Winser London have very kindly let me borrow some pieces to show you what I'd really like to pin on Pinterest, my take on spring easy wear weekend dressing. Nothing too fashiony, but there are easy wear pieces that have a relative amount of smartness because I don't do sloppy (even my porridge has substance). Basically I want to be a City Chic wearing simple, classic pieces that are timeless and require minimal effort.

Let's do this....

1. The Boyfriend Jumper & Jeans

First up, a simple boyfriend jumper and white jeans. Pale pink is 'the' colour of the season so while the rest of the outfit is not at all high fashion, the colour is. And, it will keep on giving far longer than say the 1970 Bella Freud jumper that is oh-so popular (I do love the BF jumper by the way but I want something that will stand the test of fashion time).

And the jeans are just glorious, they fit like a dream. Ok, I know white jeans aren't everyone's cup of tea especially if you have children of waist height proportions that take great delight in hanging off your knees with grubby fingers. I clean the wood burner in mine, bleach the loo, take the dog out. I'm more likely to spill spag bol down my front than dirty my bottom half. And there's something about white jeans that has an instant smartening effect don't you think?

Boyfriend Jumper - Winser London
White Jeans - Winser london
Wanderlust Pumps - Holster Australia
Coat - Zara (similar)

Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium in the boyfriend jumper which is over sized but without being sloppy. It's Merino wool, a perfect spring weight and is available in many colours. The jeans are size 10, my usual size with a decent stretch. Really comfortable and my first experience of trying Winser London jeans. The pumps are by Holster Australia in silver, the comfiest shoes I own. There are some sizes left over on the website but new spring colours are due in soon according to Instagram

2. Striped Jumper & Capri Pants

Don't we love our stripes? You know, you could be wearing a raggy old pair of jeans but add a freshly ironed striped top and it transforms the whole outfit. It's a given that every woman should have stripes in her wardrobe! And of course they never, ever date so it's worth investing in quality. This one is 100% cotton and if you're doing a UK beach holiday this summer, GET THIS. It's perfect for layering over a vest top and shorts when the weather takes a turn. The slightly wider neckline is very flattering and the dipped hem at the back covers our little bottoms.

Now, let's talk about trousers. They're like bloomin buses, you spend weeks searching for them and then three pairs come along at once (check out this post for the Next cropped flares and Gap real straight jeans). But these ones, they've set the bar at the very top. They are the queen of trousers. Double knit Ponte pull on Capris. Deep concealed elastic waistband that sits neatly across the tummy and holds everything in. I wasn't sure whether I'd like them from the photo online. I don't like them. I love 'em. Don't let the fact that they look like a thick legging put you off. They totally look like a proper pair of tailored Capris on. I'm wearing the midnight which is a dark navy.

Teamed with an old pair of Converse and with hindsight I wish I hadn't worn them. You know when there's something in your wardrobe that you don't like but don't know why. That! I think it's because they're just too casual and cool for me. Maybe it's because Converse look better when they're battered and dirty. Mine are still as pristine as when they came out of the box many years ago! There's no hope really is there 🙈

Cotton Casual Jumper - Winser London
Emma Miracle Pintuck Capri Trousers - Winser London
All Star Low White Converse -  Office

Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium jumper. I would probably size down in this if you're between sizes because it's quite swingy. The trousers are size 10, my usual size. They're available in black (a great work wear option) and camel.

3. The Audrey Jumper & Capri Pants

I've always had a soft spot for cricket jumpers (which are due for a comeback this season by the way) and yacht wear. God knows where that throw-back has come from. But this next jumper seems to be a modern combination of both which makes me very happy. I mean, it is so darn English isn't it? 100% cotton so very breathable for when you need a sweater but don't want to roast-in-a-bag. It's over-sized but cut straight which is an important point. Sweaters that are cut wide can look really sloppy and are difficult to obtain a sleek city chic look.

Trousers are as before and I'm wearing sling back loafers from last year (much easier to walk in than backless ones).

Audrey Cotton Jumper - Winser London
Emma Miracle Pintuck Capri Trousers - Winser London
Sling Black Loafers - Next (similar)
Pippa Grab Bag - Modalu

Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium jumper. If you're in between sizes, go down as it's roomy. Capri trousers are size 10, my usual size.

And in keeping with the simple theme, I'm wearing minimal jewellery, just a tiny necklace and a couple of small bracelets. Even my hair is low maintenance. That means not washed and blow dried by the way. A quick back comb behind the crown and then a piece of hair taken from each side above the ear, twisted and pinned with bobby pins at the back. It takes a whole 3 minutes to do.

So let's have a quick recap about pulling off casual wear (in a kinda City Chic way) for the real woman.

1. Choose classic pieces such as stripes
2. Avoid fuss and detail
3. Straight cut tops and sweaters are smarter than wider, slouchy cuts
4. Controversial I know, but a dark wash denim is better than a lighter wash
5. Keep accessories to a minimum
6. Trainers should be clean and possibly of the plain leather variety rather than sporty

Ok so now I need to fess up, I loved these pieces so much that I bought three of them, the Ponte trousers, the Audrey jumper and boyfriend jumper. I'm building up quite a little collection of Winser London.

We've only just broken up for half term and I believe temperatures are predicted to hit 17 degrees next week. Sod's Law, I'm out of the country. Happens every time. If you want great weather, put me on an aeroplane. Question is, am I doing a hot or cold weather hol? Family vote resulted in a 3-1landslide victory so one of us is very disappointed!!!!!!

Have a lovely weekend.


Nice Crepes Mum

(Crepes as in trainers, not pancakes - down with the kids, this mum is)

As well as searching for a new cut of trouser, I've also been on the look out for new trainers. I'd originally set my heart on the khaki suede Stan Smiths. They're more beige than green in real life. However it wasn't to be as I couldn't find a 5.5 anywhere, my perfect Adidas size.

And then hurrah, I found these in Marks & Spencer which I liked rather a lot. Except they're not leather so I walked away. Right back to the car park in fact. And then I thought sod it, if they fit and they're comfortable, I'm getting them. So I went back. Smelly feet is a small price to pay (I don't have smelly feet really, well not yet).

Marks & Spencer Punch Hole Trainers £19.50

And do you know what, they're really rather comfy, trying them out today and so far so darn good.

Of course a seal of approval from the son was required and as I walked in to his bedroom to open his blinds (at 12.30pm but we'll skip over that point), he lifted his head from the pillow and said 'nice crepes Mum'. Bingo, they're keepers. We won't tell him that they're not leather and they're from good ol' Marks & Sparks. Sometimes mums have to be economical with the truth.

Now the question is, could I get away with the other colourways too? The gold are lush but I already have a pair of platform trainers from last year that are very similar.

Marks & Spencer Punch Hole Trainers in Metallic Gold, Navy & White £19.50

By the way, the pink I'm wearing are much less pinky-pink in real life, more of a nude colour, just the way I like them 👍

Ruffled Blouse - River Island (similar)
Coat - Zara (similar)
Fulmer Bag - Village England
Coated Leggings - Next (black/navy here)
Trainers - Marks & Spencer

Catch up soon.


The One Where I Find A Replacement For The Next Pull On Coated Leggings

Hello, long time no speak. Yes I'm still here, still getting dressed every morning but what with the lurgy, housey stuff and a holiday to organise, time has kinda passed me by.

I've also been on the hunt for something other than skinny fit jeans/trousers.

Long time readers of the blog will know that for the last couple of years, I've championed the Next Pull On Coated Leggings.  I have 5 pairs and wear them daily. They are my surrogate denims.

Honestly I can't rate them enough and I know that many of you have them too.

- They're a great fit
- They're high waisted and pull you in but still feel comfortable
- They don't bag around the knee or indeed lose their shape anywhere
- They stay up all day

And providing that you wash them on a gentle wash (20 degrees with a 1000 spin speed seems to be ok), they'll last and last. In fact the only downside is that they have zero thermal properties. Do not, I repeat do not go sledging in them.

Can you see my reluctance to stop wearing them? Can you? Do you feel my pain? But hey, skinnies are on their way out aren't they? Not quite sure that the High Street has got that memo because they're still in plentiful supply. From the more expensive end, Paige denim to the more reasonably priced Levis. And more importantly, still championed by us, the shoppers. Oasis are running a little competition at the moment (featuring gorgeous Alex from The Frugality) and as I write, 85% of entries have voted for skinnies over and above a more relaxed side stripe jogger. It's definitely worth entering (here) as you have a chance of winning the entire edit. Gotta be in it to win it.

I've been driving myself (and the family) demented trying to find a suitable replacement to the skinny. Don't want to be left behind and all that. A case of FOMO if ever there was one. Anyway, after weeks and weeks of searching and, trying on dozens and dozens of different shapes, I think I've finally found a fab pair that fit and flatter. And guess where from.....Next, again!

Hadn't even clocked these online as while this photo isn't awful, I don't think it shows how fab they really are either.

Next Black Ponte Flare Trousers £24

Ok, we're not going to win any awards for originality here, I mean, you'll probably find them in every shop but OMG the fit is amazing. A little dissection is required me thinks:

- They're pull ons so no bulky zips and waistbands to deal with
- Ponte fabric is not only comfortable but holds you in as well
- They're neat around the top of the leg which doesn't overwhelm your frame and gives shape
- They're described as a flare but it's more of a kick flare and this shaping is great for hourglasses and pears for balancing everything out
- The crop will be great for wearing in the warmer months and suits lots of shoe styles
- Easily dressed up or down, totally versatile

I'll wear with a sock boot for now although apparently temperatures are supposed to reach the giddy highs of double figures come Wednesday, I may well try a pair of trainers. Don't hold me to that!

So I bought a size 10 and 12 as I couldn't decide which I preferred in the shop. I think I'm going to keep the 12 for a slightly more relaxed fit. Sorry no photo yet as it was far too windy and cold to go outside today.

By the way, if you're looking for another alternative, these Gap High Rise Real Straight Jeans are excellent. A straight leg without being overly baggy so a good transition from a more fitted style. Love the high waist which holds everything in.

If you try either the trousers or jeans, let me know what you think.

No half term for us yet in Cheshire although we have a poorly boy off school and with GCSEs looming, I'm counting how many teaching hours he's missing. I'm stressed, he's as laid back as ever 😱  Boys!!!!!

And, totally off topic, why hasn't anyone ever told me about spiral hairpins before? They are a total revelation. Literally, twist all your hair into a bun shape (you don't need a bobble), twist one in from the bottom and another from the top and you end up with a kind of messy up-do. I am impressed! Do feel free to pass on any little hair tips for short crappy fine hair. I'm all ears.

Amazon Spiral Hairpins (pack of 10) £3.79

Back soon.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I am in no way affiliated to Next although I do feature their stuff lots. I paid full price for all trousers and leggings featured. There, glad I got that off my chest xx


Still Planning Forward With A Few More Spring Updates

I popped over to Homebase earlier for varnish (don't ask, it's boring) and couldn't resist nipping in to Next for a mooch. Actually that's a lie, I wanted to check out the red tweed jacket - the varnish was an excuse.

I feel the need to justify another jacket to my family who already despair that my obsession is akin to growing mushrooms. Now spilling over into 3 bedrooms. But but but, many are old and all are worn. OK not right now, jumpers and coats are on repeat but give it a few weeks and they'll come into their own. So no, I'm not going to justify anything to anyone. The family can roll their eyes as much as they want.

Anyway, the jacket. It's a classic wardrobe piece that will I'm sure, be pulled out year after year. It's an orangey-red colour so brilliant for warm skin tones (me). I'm normally a size 10 everything in Next but had to size up in this one. It actually looks and feels more expensive than the £60 price tag.

Next Tweed Edge To Edge Jacket

I find collarless jackets easy to wear as you can literally put any style underneath. I'm thinking a plain white t-shirt and cropped jeans for a really simple crisp daytime outfit.

The shirt (£24) is also new season from Next (link here) which I picked up to try on just because it looked so vibrant and fresh. So much nicer in real life although I left it behind for now. And the black pull on coated leggings (£24) that I'm wearing are still available - phew (link here).

Now I understand that jackets aren't for everyone even though this is a lovely soft option with a bit of stretch so this next one would still give you a similar look but is more of a cardi option. I'm asked all the time how Natural style personalities can look smarter but still feel comfortable. This is your answer ladies. They didn't have it in my local shop so it's on back order online. If you want to give it a try, I'd recommend that you pop an order over ASAP.

Red Military Jacket £32

Still on a mission to rediscover my love of denim. I think I've decided that non-skinny, distressed jeans are just too sloppy for me. Happy to do a little distressing on a skinny because they're more of a structured shape than say a boyfriend. But I'm totally freaked out that I need to find another shape of denim for fear that skinnies are well and truly on their way out (please no). So I've ordered the high rise real straight jeans from Gap. Haven't received them yet and by all accounts I won't get them until well into next week so heads up now as there is 35% off full price styles quoting code BONUSGAP. It ends on the 5th so get your skates on.

Gap High Rise Real Straight Jeans £44.95 (pre-discount)

And if you're looking for a decent plain white t-shirt to go under the red jacket above, look no further than Hush. These are fantastic quality, I much prefer them to the Boden and Baukjen ones if I'm honest. The shape, length and fabric are bob-on.

Hush Cotton Slub V-Tee £27

A couple of bits from Boden that I have my eye on, this dress needs a little explaining because quite honestly it looks a bit, well boring shall we say.

So the picture first of all.

Boden Margot Jersey Dress £55

I could do a lot with it though. It's an easy wear which suits me down to the ground. I'm far too lazy to have to think about changing clothes throughout the day for different activities. Chuck this on in a morning and it's easily dressed up with a jacket and heels or down with flip flops for pottering around the house. I'm talking summer wear obviously.

I'm still explaining...

So last year I stuck to simple silhouettes and accessorised, accessorised, accessorised. And it kind of worked. These were dresses that I could wear on a daily basis, easy care, easy wear and comfortable. So I aim to repeat again this year starting with the Margot dress above.

And finally shoes, my favourite subject EVER. Navy blue suede no less which are a perfect transitional footwear for spring. And would look great with the red jacket and jeans. Just saying.

Boden Catherine Mid Heel Shoes £98

By the way, a reader has got in touch to tell me that she ordered the backless loafer that I featured last time. Apparently they are almost impossible to keep on your feet so if you love them as much as me I've devised a plan of action:

1. Wait for a discount code, you won't mind so much that you can't walk in them

2. Only wear them when you're standing still. Obviously this means that the family will have to do all daily chores

3. I do think that there is a way of keeping them on your feet by walking like a duck. This will take practice but basically turn your feet outwards, bend the knees and stick out your bum. Shuffle forward. I'm positive this will work.

Good luck.

It's a stressful old time in this house as I'm sure anyone with 15 year old boys doing GCSEs will agree. How we're going to get through to June, I do not know. I'm not allowed to help, scratch that, I'm not allowed to even speak and god help me if I attempt to tidy up his room. Oh a fun weekend in store for sure. I hope you have a better one.